Permission Dr. Joe Muscolino (

Nonaxial Glide Motions of the Spine

Joe Muscolino

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The spine can move in six (6) nonaxial glide motions/directions.


Permission Dr. Joe Muscolino (

Nonaxial glide motions of the spine depicted.
Top views: right lateral views.
Other views: anterior views.
Permission Dr. Joe Muscolino (


  • The nonaxial glide motions of the spine are:
    • Anterior glide
    • Posterior glide
    • Right lateral glide
    • Left lateral glide
    • Distraction (traction)
    • Compression


  • The annular fibers of the annulus fibrosus are shown being pulled taut and limiting these motions.
  • Ligaments of the spine would also be pulled taut and limit these motions.



  1. A nonaxial motion is defined as one in which each point on a bone moves exactly the same amount as each and every other point.
  2. Nonaxial motions are also known as gliding motions, sliding motions, translational motions, and planar motions.